Harry Groot began his forest products career in 1980 in Procter & Gamble’s Papermaking Division. Since then he’s worked in nearly every aspect of forest products from forest inventories to lower-impact logging, to sawmilling and drying, to producing custom millwork and timber frames. He has served as the Managing Partner of his family’s forest products company since 1998 and served as the CEO of the Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative for six years, after helping to organize it. He’s consulted with over 300 firms, the majority in the forest products sector, focusing on business and manufacturing issues primarily: operations improvement, streamlining management systems, quality program implementation, facilities, logistics, and equipment design and specification, and rural economic development.
Harry’s work experience has been built on his Mechanical Engineering undergraduate and Industrial Engineering graduate work at Virginia Tech, tempered by a lot of hands-on experience. He has particular interest in helping small businesses prosper, assisting cooperative enterprises to succeed, implementing appropriate technologies, and facilitating triple bottom line outcomes. His experience includes both State and Federal public-sectors, environmental non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, working with investment, borrowed, earned income, and grant funding sources. He’s been certified as both a Professional Engineer and an Energy Manager, and has worked on international projects as Virginia’s Governor-appointed Representative to the Consortium for Manufacturing Competitiveness, and provided technology transfer assistance between higher Ed institutions, Federal Labs, and regional businesses while Regional Director for Va’s Center for Innovative Technology. He continues to actively participate in the family’s farm, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, which has dedicated itself to advocate for strengthening the rural economy and preserving working family farms through its practice of long-term forest stewardship and the conservation of Heritage Livestock Breeds.